Digital format of Glen-L plans

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Gayle Brantuk
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Digital format of Glen-L plans

Post by Gayle Brantuk »

Hello!

We have been getting more and more requests for our plans in digital format. Since I am a COMPLETE novice at this (i.e. dummy), I don't know what I don't know.

Our concern has always been how our clients would use a digitized version of our plans & patterns. If you have them on disk, how would you print out the full size patterns, or do you have access to CAD machines? Most of our designs do not include a table of offsets since we have the full size patterns.... is that a problem? What type of file is best?

Bottom line is that I could really use input from those of you who know. Plus, I know many of you have actually converted our plans to digital. I sure hope to get some feedback... we really do want to meet your needs to the best of our abilities...Thank you!

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kens
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Post by kens »

If they are digital computer file, how do you prevent the pirates copies?

Oyster
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Post by Oyster »

If you do this, limit your plans to under 16 feet. You are opening yourself up for a lot of grief in the amateur market for legitimate builders in the bigger ones, from my opinion, not withstanding the pirating which already takes place. Hard plans purchased from you at least makes them work a bit more for the reproduction of the plans. :wink: There is one plans provider that has personally hacked one of my 16 footers simply by a detailed building link off the internet before I was computer wise to what takes place across the net. I never owned a computer until 1999. I have learned a lot from some hard results of being naive.

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leakcheck
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Re: Digital format of Glen-L plans

Post by leakcheck »

we really do want to meet your needs to the best of our abilities...Thank you![/quote]



OOO OOOHHH oooooHhhh I have a line...I have a line !!! oooohhhh...I can barely control myself !..

Forget it..I dont know anything about digital plans either ..


Steve

Obviously I cant even figure out how to do those quote things either !

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ttownshaw
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Post by ttownshaw »

For me (Personal opinion here), I would have liked to have the plans I purchased in a digital format. Specifically CAD. Maybe I am being somewhat over-critical but with the plans folded (creased) there was an increased possibility of creating deflected or less than true frames. I feel fortunate to have a full size plotter and copier at work so I copied the plans so they would not be creased, rolled them, and put them in an architectural-plans tube (See Note Below). If I had the plans on disk I could have even taken them to Kinko's and had full size plans plotted for me. I have already pretty closely duplicated the plans in CAD so I can toy around with some of the future unique features I have planned for my build. An example of this is seating, custom fuel tank dimensions, fuel tank placement, instrument layout, cabling, wiring schematics, and so on. Besides, this gives me something to play around with while I am waiting on glue to cure, as well as keeping me motivated and thinking about what my "perfect boat" will be like.

I know that not everyone has access to AutoCAD, CAP, 2020 Giza Design, Microsoft Visio, or the host of other applications that can open CAD files (.dwg and .dxf); but most places that have full size plotters (like Kinko's) do have these programs.

I welcome all the comments (constructive and critical) about this issue that other builders may have. So, please chime in!

Note: (Only slightly off topic) I am ALWAYS EXTREMELY cautious when copying material that I did not create. I know what it is like to have my personal ideas exploited. I put Copyright stamps on all of my sensitive material at work to discourage illegal distribution. The fact of the matter is...if someone is going to infringe on proprietary content, they will do it regardless of the Copyright stamp. I also know that by purchasing these plans I can duplicate them for personal use as long as it is within the intended use of the owner of the documents (Glen-L). I purchased one set of plans and am building one boat. Should I build the same boat again it should be expected of me to purchase the plans again. Glen-L may not care if I build a second boat with the first set of plans (I don't know), but I do care and would feel obligated to provide them with the fee to give me "restricted and limited-intended lease-able right" to build a single boat. Face it, we are not purchasing the plans, but rather leasing the right to build one of Glen-L's designs.

Sorry for being so long winded...both of these issues are important to me.
Bill

I told my wife we needed a three-car garage for my projects...she told me to ask her for permission next time before I buy a house.
http://www.unitybuild.net

Oyster
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Post by Oyster »

Good points but.....
The fact of the matter is...if someone is going to infringe on proprietary content, they will do it regardless of the Copyright stamp
I hear this with numerous arguements. Drugs, sex, illegal immigrants and adultry, no matter what the laws are,,,,,, :wink: So we must just dilute the laws and make avaliable each and everything ................... :wink: Okay nuff of this.......... :P

Have we ever heard or read the comments, "Can I move or add this that or the other, or I like the hull, but need JUST this moved a bit to give me a bit more and can I reduce the beam a few inches, as my garage is just not big enough for working room"


Seriously though, some things that are taking place nowadays is some programs exists that will in principle create your own boat, featuring just the right look, layout, and yes in a matter of opinion a "proper hull" that will not risk life and limb when actually building the boat.

This is unlike what takes place when buying a a set of proper plans which normally comes with more thought and technical feedback that eliminates some safety issues. The main issue is the lack of safety when you take it upon yourself to design, stretch, enlarge, install, and the likes what appears to be perfectly fine since you have all of those special programs now made avaliable but comes without some credible degree to do so.

The larger hulls also on digital format in the hands of the first time consumer will drive the seller nuts. A case in point in larger hull feedback in plan form for me after reading and following numerous boards of people that build Sharpies. The designer was taken ill a while back and was unavaliable while people sorted out the paper plans across the net. Forums were filled with consumers asking others for help. This is a bit scary when you think about the broad range of abilities across the world.

Just look at the amount of questions that comes with normal plans and this procedure now. Feedback is important. But the seller has to determine if their interest is in numbers of sold plans or numbers successfull boats being built of their own designs.

This single issue has caused some plan sellers to switch to just kits in many of their plans now, which eliminates many hours of what amounts to hand holding for the diverse abilities of the consumers. By far upon scanning the horizon, some now are finding that this is becoming the way to go for the return on their dollars. In turn this does minimize the overall hours at the end of the day.

If I was in the business of selling plans, I would begin to think about this as a modernization. I would do this as a way to broaden and compete in the present world for one other reason. This eliminates the numerous and frustrated builders searching for the right materials in their off hours coming up short and spending a lot of dollars in shipping that they never recover, when they could have the convenience of parts done right in their hands in a few weeks. These people may think this is expensive. But I bet many here looking back after three months of seeking out and setup would graciously pay what appears to be "expensive price up front" to get started without this additional frustration, and ending up to big box crap, too. my .02 worth and spoken for what its worth and the price you paid for it. :lol:

Aaron B
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Post by Aaron B »

CAD format would have been great. Its the standard for readily available programs, and relatively easy to convert into other formats.

I don't think piracy is as big an issue for an established company as it is for an individual. Glen-L has name and design recognition, and has a 40+ year history. A smart thief (the ones you have to worry about) wouldn't bother with Glen-L, because the perceived risk is too high. The same thief might steal other peoples designs, like Oyster's, because he knows that there is far less chance that an individual will release the lawyers.

Add to this that when I bought my plans, I thought it should have come with an End-User License Agreement or Terms of Use statement or something that explicitly states what the rights the buyer of the plans, and Glen-L have. I know there is the good faith understanding that one set of plans builds one boat, but thats only because your customers are largely decent people who have a dream of building a boat, not to start a crooked boat plan business.

The real problem for Glen-L, as I see it, is paying to have the plans converted into a CAD format, and remain faithful to what Mr Witt, and Mr Hankinson intended with their designs.

For ideas other than formats, it would be great to be able to buy multiple study plans on a CD or individually for download in just PDF format. It would be great to see plans for the old boats you no longer offer, or have been re-issued without full sized plans on a CD (Like the Ski King and that Whee-Two from the newsletter). It would also be great to get the books, guides and manuals on CD as well.

Lewis Barrett
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Post by Lewis Barrett »

I deal with architects everyday and they e-mail me drawings several times a month and I print them out on my plotter. It really makes my life easier and theirs. That being said, they have all these disclaimers and legal junk that I have to agree to. My cad skills are limited but I manage to get what I need to build their buildings and make everyone happy. It works well in my business.

However, when I decided to build a boat, I wanted to build a 1950's era boat, Pre-fiberglass, and I wanted to do it pretty much like they did back in the day (no computers). Although lofting was not required, I had fun laying out the frames and using the carbon paper to get the full size frame on my big layout table. I supose I could have saved alot of time if the patterns were not half the frame, but it was fun for me.

I guess I'm trying to say the more choices the better.

David

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ttownshaw
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Post by ttownshaw »

So we must just dilute the laws and make avaliable each and everything
Oyster, this is not what intended to infer; I was, rather, trying to make the point that it is up to each of us to observe and respect the intended use of the plans.



Lewis - I agree! I am not trying to build a "me-too" boat but rather a unique hand-crafted project. I too like to hand copy the plans to the frame material and I do think this would not change with a CAD version.

Aaron - Great idea with the study plans in a downloadable format!
Bill

I told my wife we needed a three-car garage for my projects...she told me to ask her for permission next time before I buy a house.
http://www.unitybuild.net

Oyster
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Post by Oyster »

Oyster, this is not what intended to infer; I was, rather, trying to make the point that it is up to each of us to observe and respect the intended use of the plans.
And in the same manner, I did not take it that way. I added a razz gremlin to that affect. Cheers and respect to one and all. My on topic comments were just comments from one individual and may not reflect other peopls's thoughts. I felt that after following many sellers of plans over the net, I could add some comments as was requested. There are no requirements to accept my comments. Please view my comment as a litehearted reply that also had more than just the words added to them, and accept my sincere apologizes if anyone feels that my comments were out of bounds and remove them from any post now or in the future. Later.

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ttownshaw
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Post by ttownshaw »

Oyster - good, because I was trying to decide if you and I were at war or peace...lol :lol:.
Bill

I told my wife we needed a three-car garage for my projects...she told me to ask her for permission next time before I buy a house.
http://www.unitybuild.net

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Gayle Brantuk
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Post by Gayle Brantuk »

Wow--thanks so much for your responses so far. This is more helpful than you can imagine.

The issue of piracy and copyright infringement is something we have been pretty lax with over the years. But frankly, we haven't had any serious problems with it (knock on wood). As one of you mentioned, we really do have very conscientious customers for the most part--that has always boggled my mind.

We have always had a royalty policy for those who wish to build more than one boat from a set of plans, but haven't made it public. I suppose that it seemed a bit difficult to actually enforce.

I really like your ideas, the study plans on CD wouldn't be near as difficult as the full size plans, so that will be considered. We are just finishing up our full catalog in PDF format which will be available on disk in the near future.

Anyway, now I'm rambling ... keep your comments coming. Long and winded or short and sweet ... it's all very much appreciated!

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kens
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Post by kens »

Gayle, I think your on the right track with the study plans on disc, & catalog on disc. But please, make that a option, not a requirement.
But the real boat plans would be better off as is, after all, it would be some amount of trouble to get the full size plans printed off a disc; and then what do you have? FULL SIZE PLANS, and that is what you have now!
So, why bother?
Why would you bother to go and locate a plotter, print your own full size plans, when they come in the mail ready to use?
Anyway, anything you put on computer format (digital disc) is simply ASKING for piracy.
The only change I would like to see on your current plans, is to roll them onto a tube instead of folding them up, please.
The plans verbage could also be a optional disc file.

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GregH
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Post by GregH »

so many factors to take into account on this subject and I think people have covered them well.

I can only speak for myself, but I would love to have on CD both the scanned paper layouts and CAD drawings so I can play with personalizing things like were mentioned above. But then again I am a bit of an amateur geek as well ;)

As for the concern of piracy, never easy solution.. if someone REALLY wanted to scam plans... they could scan a paper copy or make their own cad version and sell those.. with minimal investment in ordering one paper copy. Not being a "mainstream" activity/hobby I think it's minimal risk and offers more bang for the buck!

bottom line.,. I think some version of this is a great idea!

cheers
Greg
I can't do everything, but I can do something.

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BayouBengal
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Post by BayouBengal »

Well Gayle, this is a timely topic indeed, and specifically one I was thinking about taking up with you in the future. You are correct to have concerns regarding protection of your family business’ intellectual rights while at the same time catering to the desires of your customers. I’m going to explain how I’m using your plans electronically. You can use this information to begin formulating ideas on how your business model and deliverables might change in the future, as I think you should seriously start contingency planning for how Glen-L will generate cash flow in event your plans are pirated and made available at a reduced price, or even free, to the masses.

I recently ordered your “Squirt” plans and am excited about building the boat. I enjoy woodworking, am excited about the project, but I must admit, I don’t have the ability to saw a straight line. So, I’m planning to use digital help to ensure that I get a boat frame that’s cut as precisely as possible to your plans. I’ll be using computer numerical control (CNC) equipment along with “Enroute” CAD/CAM software to cut out all parts of the plywood in my frame and also using it to cut templates for the mahogany framing members. The CNC equipment is driven from computerized drawings and will cut out any precise shape (such as your boat plans) that you draw and input into the machine.

Your hard copy drawings, of course, were not CNC ready. In order to make them CNC ready, I brought them to a blueprint shop equipped with a large flatbed scanner. They scanned the Squirt drawing sheet and provided me with both a pixilated file and vector file of the drawing. This only cost about seven dollars. A pixilated file is a graphics file that simply looks at pixels and assigns a digital code to each pixel. Your computer can read the code for each pixel, and thus, display the picture on your monitor. A vector graphics file on the other hand uses number coordinates to redraw shapes from one origin to the other in order to display a graphic on your computer. Because the print on your paper plans is not dark fine print, neither file from the blueprint shop was clear enough to be readily usable by the CNC equipment; so; I would have loved to have had a refined electronic file from you, but I don’t recommend you give them out, more on that later. CNC equipment requires a vector file format to run. It will import a pixilated format and convert it to a vector format, but it requires a refined pixilated graphics file to do so. So, to make your plans CNC ready, I refined the pixilated file (I used a 400 pixel per inch TIF file) so that the lines were darker, sharper, and clearer (about 10 hours of work).

My nephew owns a cabinet shop with the CNC equipment and we’re going to cut out all of the shapes this Saturday. I expect the framing parts we cut will come out as near perfect as possible. You should be able to drop the pieces on your plan sheet and they will match without any visual flaws whatsoever. Another advantage is that the frame pieces should also go together perfectly without the use of a framing platform because the fastening holes shown on your drawings were transferred to my drawings, thus, the CNC equipment will drill the holes in either the wood or template in exactly the same spot; so, the pieces will actually be keyed together via these holes. I’ll let you know after Saturday if things actually go as I expect, but there’s no reason to think that it will not.

Now for opportunities and pitfalls to Glen-L. I’m going to start with a pitfall, that way I can end on a good note with an opportunity.

Pitfall - There’s nothing stopping me, other than my honesty, from giving or selling my full sized refined electronic files of your intellectual property to anyone I please. Sure you could pursue legal action, but dishonest people generally don’t fear legal action and it would cost you more than you’d recover. Needless to say, this has to be a concern to you, and the more people who have your file, the greater the risk becomes that someone will use it for their profitability, therefore, robbing you of yours. And while it’s true, people can already generate the electronic file from your paper with a little effort such as I have, your typical crook will not go through this trouble; they’ll simply look for an easier mark. In brief, I’d be very cautious about making the electronic files readily and easily available to everyone.

Opportunity – You can start selling framing templates. This provides some protection to your cash flow deliverable because it is a physical item that cannot be mass distributed as simply as an electronic file. I can understand why you quit selling frames after Allyn left. I don’t expect that this was very profitable to you and required a lot of space, raw materials, lifting, and shipping problems; but, the templates can be made out of a few pieces of thin plywood and require no assembly. You can outsource the manufacture of the templates to a shop equipped with the CNC equipment while you control the drawings, so your labor and manpower needs are unaffected. I don’t know what Squirt framing kits were selling for, but I know I wanted to buy one at most any reasonable price for the time savings and accuracy, and I think many other first time boat builders are the same. You’ll have at least as great a demand for the framing templates as the frames you were selling; but actually I’d expect it would be greater because the templates would be much less expensive than the physical frames and shipping cost will be minimal. And yes, I know some of you boatbuilding purists would never dream of contaminating your handmade boats with this automation, but, I expect there’s also a lot of folks who would love to have the templates and forego all of the work involved with making them from the drawing.

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